Saturday, April 13, 2019

Feasting on crumbs: Matthew 15:26-27

In between feeding the five thousand and feeding the four thousand, Jesus was approached by a woman; not a Jewish woman, but a Syrophoenician woman; a gentile woman. She came to beseech Jesus to deliver her daughter who was severely daemon possessed. Upon hearing her request, Jesus rebuffed her saying, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” (Mat 15:26) However, while agreeing with him, she reminded him that “even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their master's table.” (Mat. 15:27)

In this passage, the Greek word translated here as “fall,” as in “the crumbs which fall from the master’s table,” is a present participle of the Greek word, piptō, which means “I fall.” What is significant about this word being used as a present participle is that it represents a present and on-going activity. It could equally be translated, “the crumbs which are falling from the master’s table.”
For this gentile woman, the blessing and provision of God was not a mere concept or some sterile theological idea. The blessing and provision of God was something present and ongoing; something she could see and experience in the here and how. From her perspective, the blessing and provision of God was not something in the future. Rather it was a present reality as was being poured out upon the children of God in such superabundance that its overflow was flowing out to any and all who might wish to receive it. Her statement about the crumbs was not a statement of what might be, but a statement of what she saw was happening all around her.

Seeing this woman’s faith, it challenges me to answer two questions about my own life. First, how do I see God’s blessing and provision to day? Do I see it as some remote possibility or a present-day reality? Often, I find myself praying for God’s favor and blessing, but do I really believe that his blessing and favor are already mine presently and continually? Just as this woman, we are living in the age of God’s blessing and provision and his blessings are being poured out upon who will receive it.

Secondly, how do I view the economy of God in relationship to those whom I deem to be “outside” the family and household of God? Do I see God’s blessing and provision as being exclusive or inclusive? Do I perceive his blessings as being limited to believers or do I see it as overflowing to all, whether they be inside or outside of what I perceive as the family of God? Can I see and rejoice when someone “outside” is blessed by God or am I scandalized when God chooses to bless those who are “not a part of us?” It is right that the children should be fed first, but God’s blessings were never meant to be stopped there. They were meant to flow out to a world of hurting and needy people; to a world that needs God just as much as we do.

I hope this encourages and challenges you. I would greatly like to hear your thoughts on this as well.
David Robison

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